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Note for Passion Play 2 (Plays 29-34)

Just as Passion 1 did, the Passion 2 playbook led a life independent of the other plays in the manuscript. There are two blank folios that precede Passion 2, and yet at some later time, the main scribe managed to blend this existing Passion 2 (written on paper with a different watermark) with the rest of the older “cycle” material. We cannot be sure where the “original” Passion 2 actually ended. Meredith ends his edition of the Passion Play at the closing of the Appearance to Mary Magdalene, where the manuscript says: “Explicit apparacio Mary Magdalene,” on fol. 201r, but there is prosodic and paleographic evidence that the main scribe began integrating different exemplars as early as folio 184, the Crucifixion. See Spector (The N-Town Plays 1:72–76, 1:113–18, 2:541). Except for one nine-line stanza at the end of Herod’s opening speech (lines 41–49), Passion 2 appears largely in couplets, quatrains, and octaves. Passion 2 draws from Gospel narratives such as Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and John 18. The dramatic material in Passion 2 correlates to these other English plays: York Plays 29–37, Christ’s Burial and Christ’s Resurrection from Bodleian MS e Museo 160 (Late Medieval Religious Plays, ed. Baker, Murphy, and Hall), Chester Plays 16–17, and Towneley Plays 22–25. The non-biblical sources are in the notes to Passion 1. As noted in the introduction to Passion 1, the Passion playwright drew heavily from Nicholas Love’s Mirrour. In Passion 2, Love’s influence can be seen most clearly in Procession to Calvary, Crucifixion, Burial, and Guarding of the Sepulcher.

Go To Play 29, Herod; Trial before Annas and Cayphas